Lipsticks Locked and Loaded: 45 Comics Showing Us What It’s Like To Be A WomanBy Aileen D
Don’t let the perfect tan and the matte lipstick fool you. It’s difficult to be a woman. Don’t believe us? It takes us, women, at least an hour to get our hair done and a separate hour to do our makeup, just to look presentable. And had it not been for Bella Sriwantana, we would have thought we were the only ones who did this. This Belgian artist tells the truth as it is. If you have ever wondered what it’s like to live a day in the life in heels, or better yet, if you wanted to understand your girlfriend or wife better, then here’s the chance to get to know us. You will get a good laugh out of Bella Sriwantana, aka Bella Maris’s comics. If you love her comics, follow her on Instagram.
All images in this article are courtesy of bella.illustrations on Instagram.
All for Show
Every woman is an actress. We can look the part of a femme fatale or a boss bae at work, but we still have emotional breakdowns by the end of the month. And if we find someone unpleasant or annoying, we won’t show it…at least to their face.
Thanks to face masks, it’s so much easier to play the role of excited friend. To be fair, we have mastered the art of acting the opposite way we feel without the masks, but they certainly help. How often do you see women act out in public or openly express their dislike for someone?
First Things First
Women are more expressive about their feelings than men. If we’re angry, you’ll never hear the end of it. If we’re worried, you’ll see us fidget in our seats. And if we love you, we’ll never hesitate to tell you so. Bella takes every opportunity to tell her boyfriend that she loves him.
But of course, she does so in order of importance. Top of the list — Bella Maris. Second is her furbaby, the Golden Retriever. And lastly is her man. She may not be able to tell her man she loves him as frequently as he would like, but it sure is heartfelt when she says so.
Enjoying the Last Few Years in Peace
It feels like only yesterday that we couldn’t wait to grow up. We had everything planned to have our life together at 25 and be a boss by 30. Then, life happened. Now, we’re just happy to survive the week and spend days off in our stilettos at the bar.
The most we can do to enjoy our 20s is to put everything off until we’re 30. So anything that reminds us of our looming responsibilities is an absolute turn-off! We only have a couple of years until we finally become adults, and we would rather not rush it this time around.
A Sure Winner
As it turns out, there is a scientific basis for women wanting to lose weight. Not only do we feel more effeminate when we’re slim and light on our feet, but it feels like we can take the world head-on and lavish ourselves with a 7-course meal!
We’re sure you know what we mean. No wonder people get out of the bathroom feeling like champs. There’s a level of relief that we feel. Do you feel more like a god/ess after doing the deed? Because we sure do!
Got Running Water
Bella and her boyfriend were one of the few people who caught on late about the Covid-19 pandemic. All they knew was that it was highly contagious and that it had come from Asia. They went to the grocery store to buy their weekly supply and wondered whether they had the right survival plan.
It’s a good thing that Maris’ boyfriend relied on logic. Bella was close to caving in. She hugged her Cheetos tighter and looked at all the carts around her. “Are we doing something wrong by not heading to aisle 34.” An arm lands on her shoulder as her boyfriend reassures her. “Relax. We’ve got running water at home.”
Recently Became a MD
Despite its glory, only a few people pursue medical careers. It’s expensive and difficult, not to mention time-consuming. Becoming a doctor means taking four years of pre-med and another four years after that. But with the recent pandemic, many people became medical doctors in their own right.
Well, sort of. Suddenly, everyone knew about transmission methods and symptoms — even though some refused to follow protocols. Bella’s reaction was all of us in 2020, worrying with every cough that we caught the virus. We feel you, Bella.
We couldn’t wait to say goodbye to 2021. After a year that felt like a decade, we hoped that there would be a return to normalcy. Eased restrictions, vaccines, and higher recovery rates all had us looking forward to a brighter new year.
So, you can bet that we were more than enthusiastic to count down the seconds to 2022! Toasting our glasses high in the air, we welcomed the new year with spirit. But at one minute past midnight, we felt a bit lost. What would normal life even look like?
Needs A Built-in Swiper
Despite the numerous life-saving benefits of wearing masks, that doesn’t make them any less comfortable. For one, it’s hard to breathe using them. That’s a great incentive to keep you indoors. But the few times you have to go outside, wearing masks seems like an additional hazard.
Cloth masks were a pain to use for people with glasses. That’s why we had to buy a box of surgical masks every now and then. If worn correctly, then foggy glasses weren’t as much of an issue. Too bad no one invented a wiper function for glasses.
Like Taking Candy from a Baby
One of the few milestones millennials have is adopting a fur child. Usually, this means a dog or a cat, but some prefer non-traditional pets. Before deciding what was suitable for her, Bella did the smart thing and pet-sat her friends’ fur babies to get a feel of what life would be like.
It looks like it only took her one afternoon to decide. Every pet has its benefits and disadvantages, but with the right pet, we’re willing to overlook the latter. We’re willing to bet that Bella prefers dog hair rather than scratches on her clothes.
The List Keeps Getting Longer
Nowadays, living without your phone is nearly impossible. Name one thing you don’t need it for. Don’t say bathing because almost everyone scrubs to the beat of Dua Lipa’s “Levitating.” Forget TVs; most of our entertainment and inspiration comes from our phones. And sometimes, that’s a bad thing.
But one thing we can’t deny is the degree of procrastination that has set in. That is what usually happens when you replace your goals with comfort. You lose track of time watching videos instead of moving around, practicing the choreography of Dua Lipa’s “Levitating”. We need to remove the phrase “just one more video” from our vocabulary.
There’s no substitute for confidence. It’s one of the best accessories a woman can wear to any occasion. It doesn’t matter if you have a size 6 and you’re stuck with a size 7, or if you have a pear body shape but you are dying to wear that wide-collar dress. Just do it!
Continue to slay like the fab woman that you are! Pay no mind to the naysayers. The only thing that matters is that you love that dress and are happy wearing it. You can deal with other peoples’ unsolicited comments later. You’re what matters!
Got A Mental Block?
Usually, our head is a bottomless bottle of wonderful ideas. But every now and then, we wake up and find that there’s a cork shoved in the bottle’s mouth, blocking our flow. Gone are the ideas artists like Bella make a living out of. Guess what she does to get those ideas pouring out.
Shower thoughts are the obvious solution; science can back us up on this. The odd reason the best ideas come to mind in the shower is that the brain is flooded with dopamine, a neurotransmitter that’s good for creativity. In addition, your brain may be in an alpha brainwave state that occurs when you are meditating.
Can’t Mess With Him
We may dress like damsels, but we’re far from being in distress. By now, we have had our fair share of snide comments from peers, frenemies, and strangers. So, we know how to flip our hair and brush them off. But when it’s directed at our BFFs, that’s when things change…
Suddenly the damsels buff up. “You got a problem with my friend?” We take wide steps in our heels, and tie our hairs into low buns, prepared to go into a fight if need be. As our frenemy cowers we pull the hair tie and let our hair loose. “Yeah, that’s what I thought.”
Needs Reassurance Every Half Hour
We are strong, independent women, but we do best with our squad backing us up. Even the PowerPuff girls do well together. It takes Blossom, Bubbles, and Buttercup to combat evil and save the day. So when we don’t get the reassurance we need from our friends, we can’t help but curl into a ball.
Every 45 minutes, Bella’s watch automatically reminds her to stand and move. But her reptilian brain interprets the beep as an SMS notification from any of her gazillion friends. When she finds that none of them have tweeted, messaged, or called her, she can’t help but question what she did wrong as a friend.
Never Enough Room for Carbs
When it comes to eating meals, some women have the habit of eating less than a serving size. They fill up quickly and can’t match the quantity of food their boyfriend/husband eats. “I won’t eat for a week,” they complain as they put away the leftovers…
And just as they wrap up, they head to the refrigerator and eat a half-pint of ice cream. What man wouldn’t have trust issues about their girlfriends? Not to worry lads, there’s a separate compartment in our stomachs for regular carbs and sweets!
The Best Type of Engagement
There’s a time in every relationship when a man asks himself, “Is this the person I want to marry?” If he isn’t sure, then he might want to give the relationship a couple more years to figure that out. If he is sure she’s the one, he will get down on one knee with a ring.
But the only type of ring we’re interested in right now is a complete box of doughnuts. They must be glazed, of course. Otherwise, we might stomp our way into Krispy Kreme and demand that our boyfriends buy us a new one. Now, that deserves a yes!
We hold ourselves accountable to a high standard. We aren’t the type to moan or make excuses. That is why we set a series of alarms one minute apart to make sure we wake up when we need to. But somehow our brains can filter out the sound of our alarm.
Yet every day we can’t believe that we missed our alarms. We try blaming our partner. “Why didn’t you wake me up?” They grumpily stare back, one hand tightly gripping the frying pan. Their trance is broken as the egg crackles to perfection. We retreat. “Sheesh. Someone’s in a bad mood.“
The Right Shade of Color
Only a woman knows — the right tint of lipstick can make or break your look. That is why we spend half an hour minimum choosing the best color for light makeup look. With so many choices, we turn to our boyfriend for some help. “What do you think pairs best with my skin tone?“
He looks back and forth between us and the display. “They’re all pink.” We huff and throw our hands up in the air. “No, they’re not. Dark pink is for date night. Coral pink is perfect for the club. Rosy pink is the right tint for when I need to meet your parents.”
As much as we want to look the part, we can’t bring ourselves to follow the strict diets of most models. There’s always a reason within one day for us to postpone the diet. Whether it is a box of pizza, a rack of ribs, or freshly baked brownies, we say, “diet starts tomorrow.”
We have lost count of the days we said we’d go on a diet. If we had a dime for every time we told ourselves that lie, then we wouldn’t need to go on a diet. We could afford our own entourage to back us up when we feel bad about our food choices.
One of the perks of moving out of our parent’s house is that we get to do whatever we want. We can wake up late, drink milk from the carton, leave laundry anywhere and most importantly, sit like a boss. So when moms come to visit, they can’t help but reprimand us for not behaving like a lady.
And being the adults that we are, we press their buttons a little further. For the rest of the visit, moms rant a litany of complaints — the laundry is undone, dishes are left unwashed in the sink, and the house smells like a litterbox. Oh, we can see the steam rising from their heads.
Emo Days Have Gone
Everyone has a rebellious stage at some point in their life. For ’90s kids, this transition was marked by dark eyeliners, black nails, oversized shirts, and leather boots. This was the OOTD every day, and the best accessory was whining about who had a more miserable life.
As teens blossomed into adulthood, they outgrew the emo phase and started wearing shades of beige, orange, and pink. What they once cursed now colors the rack of clothing they wear to work. Take it from Bella. She doesn’t understand why her mom thinks she doesn’t wear pink.
Is It A Go?
Nothing can stop us from going outside and wearing floral prints — nothing…not even our periods. But as a safety precaution, it’s nice to ask our BFFs if we’re showing any signs of a leak. One wink says we’re good to go. No wink means you should grab that purse and head on home.
Only women know how difficult it is to gauge whether or not our pad is filled. There is no consistency; how we feel doesn’t always match how our clothes look. Some days, it feels endless endless cramps, but we can wear all the white clothes we want. If that isn’t cause to overthink, we don’t know what is.
When Your Boyfriend Gives You A Compliment
The best kind of compliments is those that are unexpected. When Bella baked her boyfriend a cake, she couldn’t wait to show it off. “Look what I made,” she shouts. A smile spreads across his face. Without even tasting it, he knew it tasted nice.
She smiles with pride, blushing at the compliment to her baking skills. Then, he drops a cheesy joke to turn a compliment into a romantic moment. “Awwww, stop!” She knew she looked divine, but having someone tell her that unexpectedly was the best thank you she had received for baking a cake.
The Thing About Drama
Here’s the thing about drama — we love and hate it. We hate it when it concerns details of our lives, our friends, and most importantly us. But we absolutely love drama when it concerns others. There is nothing like this that would make us feel better after a 60-hour workweek.
We’re all ears when it comes to the latest celebrity gossip, office politics, or secret rendezvous. The more specific the details, the more acute our ears strain for information. As we said, drama helps relieve us of our stress. The simple reminder that other people’s lives are as messed up as ours entertains us.
Dressed For Every Occasion
We don’t know about you, but we wake up three hours before our call time to get ready. That means hair, makeup, wardrobe, and breakfast. You will never go wrong if you prep yourself for the events of the day…even if that means that you’re prepping to check the contents of your mailbox.
Even if it’s 6 am on a Sunday, you have to wear that slinky, evening gown paired with some killer heels. It’s right about this time that your grumpy old neighbor will check the porch for the newspaper. That’s one audience in the crowd to beguile your attire with!
How can men complain that women are unpredictable? We only have four moods. And after a month of dating, men would be able to identify which is which if only they paid attention. Let’s see how many you get right. First, there’s that doe-eyed fascination we have with dogs.
Second, there’s that binge mood that we have. Our stomachs are prepped and primed for buffet and hotpot dinners. Next, we have our competitive streak. Our focus is solely riveted on winning the game. And after having gone through all the phases, we make sure to get a good night’s sleep.
Only full-grown women know, true confidence comes from within. It can’t be bought in the form of dresses in your closet or stilettos that line your shelves. Neither can it be created by the layers of makeup you put on your face. Confidence is interacting with others when you don’t have your top game on.
Something wakes Bella from her nap — a knock at the door. She wipes off the trail of spit by the corner of her mouth, pats her hair down and scuffles towards the front door, and manages to muster a weak “hi” at the postman. If that isn’t true confidence, we don’t know what is.
That One Friend
We all have that one friend who thinks too far ahead. If you tell them you missed your period, they’re probably going to order a crib online. Tell them you and your boyfriend are going through a rough patch, and they will probably tell you to try dating someone new. Sometimes, that friend is named Google.
Wouldn’t that give anyone a scare? We don’t know what is wrong with the internet that we get such weird auto-fills in our search bars. How many people are searching these terms? And why does my computer think it applies to my situation?
Please Go Straight to Voicemail
We have our own version of locker room talks. It usually happens with friends, but it can also occur with moms. Bella told her mom about an important life update to which the latter disapproved. Bella quipped “I’m a grown woman now.” Guess what comeback her mom gave.
At the thought of it, Bella shuddered. Her mom turned her face towards the mirror for a final check and then got the keys. “I’m off!” Bella stood frozen in place. She clutched her phone, entered the number, and then hoped the call would go straight to voicemail.
Presentable at Work
Despite her art, Bella still goes to her corporate job. She clocks in, submits the papers, tidies a few things here and there, and then clocks out. And once she does, she changes into a killer attire and heads to the nearby restaurant, where she meets up with her friends.
Presentable? There’s little to no need to dress up when you have got a stack of papers greeting you at your desk. But there’s every reason to dress up when you and your girls meet for the latest gossip. You have to look divine, what with you being in the hottest clique and all.
Prepping for Casting
Friday night is reserved for our men and us. We set an hour for hair and makeup each while they stand behind us, counting the minutes until we’re done. We contort our faces in the process of glamming up. Puffy cheeks, eating sour lemons, and picking our teeth are all totally normal expressions for makeup time.
We ask our man to hand us our pouch as we step into a pair of stiletto heels. We remove the hair bun and then let our perfectly coiled hair fall into place. Then we take the arm offered us and slink our way out of the house and into the car. “Next stop, the theater!“
Never Gets Old
Thank God for Netflix. We wouldn’t have to ration movie nights with the expensive tickets and overpriced popcorn. Now, weekends are jampacked with action, drama, and last but not least, comedy. Our favorite reruns include How to Get Away with Murder and Friends.
By now, user preferences should have alerted Netflix that we will rewatch Friends until the end of time. And we will continue to do so for six-hour blocks at a time. As we fumble for the remote, we blindly press okay and hope that Ross and Rachel end up together this time around.
Infant to Adult
We have to applaud the mothers of this generation. They have superb management skills and they have great taste in clothing. Kids these days don’t have to worry about humiliating throwback pics taken at preschool. They are always dressed chic.
Remember when your mom dressed you up as a kid? We can recall a time when lace socks were all the rage. They were itchy around the legs and tight by the ankles. And somehow, mom always put our pajamas over our shirts. We must have put high-waisted jeans on the map.
With A Smile
We don’t care that it’s overpriced, Starbucks deserves recognition for its stellar customer service. A smile will always greet you as their staff patiently wait for you to make up your mind. And the best part is that they will call your name when your coffee is brewed to perfection.
“Papaya! One Caffe Americano for Papaya!” The barista looks at Bella and then waves the coffee cup for her. Bella hesitantly moves to the counter and then gets the drink. “Hmp. Right drink, but who is….Papaya?” Bella violently throws her head back and whisks it around to look for the manager. “Just who is Papaya?“
Spot the Hidden Shirt
Women have fantastic memories. We know the date of our anniversary, the name of our boyfriend’s distant cousin, and most importantly, where our boyfriend’s favorite shirt is. Just this morning, Bella’s boyfriend couldn’t find it after looking everywhere. Not to worry, because she came to the rescue.
She found it in under a minute. She sifted through the clothes lined on the shelves and then pulled it out. “Looked everywhere, huh?” Her boyfriend looked impressively at her and then quickly wore it, lest it disappear from his sight again.
Not Leaving Any Marks
Men can never understand the lengths we go to to stay clean during our period. We have friends look at our skirts to make sure there isn’t any stain. We go to the bathroom every thirty minutes when we’re out of the house. And we sit along the edge of the chair to keep from leaving any marks.
It doesn’t matter if our entire weight is on our toes. We can maintain this posture for hours if needed. Yes, we earned the title boss bae for a reason, and we know how to keep our social graces in check. There’s always time to knead our thighs and feet once we go home…and change our pad.
Got Items Added to Cart
With only a couple of days left for the big day, Bella’s boyfriend gathers up a couple of hundred dollars he set aside for gifts but doesn’t know how to spend it. What would she like? He asks her, “Babe, what do you want for Valentine’s day?” Bella throws her head back and then sighs. “You’re more than enough!“
Bella’s boyfriend retreats. He adds a multitude of items to the cart and makes sure that there’s more than one of everything. He hands over his phone to Bella, who quickly skims over it and then nods. “Oh, you shouldn’t have,” she says as she swoons.
How She Keeps Fit
It’s no secret. Bella is quite the looker. So we have wondered, how does she maintain those curves? Carbs are the answer. And her favorite type is fries. She can never get enough of them. Sprinkle with some salt, dip lightly in Heinz and you have got a winner!
We can relate. Just one bite of those, and it almost feels like you’re on cloud nine *cue a choir of angels singing*. We could munch on a bed of fries, if only our stomachs can take it. Luckily, all those carbs go straight to the right places — hip and bust included!
Where You Should Take Your Selfies
When it comes to mirrors, we have our favorite. There are just some mirrors us look into that make us think we’ve had too many croissants. And there’s that lone mirror in the house or the mall’s fitting room that we’re certain we look like a goddess in.
One pro hack is to take those Insta-worthy selfies in the mall’s fitting room. Strike your best pose and take as many as you like. With the merch that you will be paying for, you might as well get your money’s worth. Oh, if only we could take those mirrors home with us!
Can’t Stop Scrolling
How many hours of sleep do you get every night? On average, we would get about five, and if we are lucky enough, we could get away with a six. On weekends where we can catch up on sleep, we can’t understand why we still feel sooooo tired.
Luckily we have Bella here to explain to us why this happens. It takes a great deal of effort to put down our phones. But we can’t help it! It’s the only time in the day where we can binge on our favorite Netflix series or stay up-to-date on the latest drama.
We’re all guilty of this. It seems like our virtual lives are way more interesting and vibrant than reality. Is it because of the way we text? When Bella sends one out, she’s LOL-ing pretty hard but her face in public remains stoic.
What does Bella have to say about that? For starters, she has a reputation to maintain. No, fab woman would be caught dead slamming her fist on the floor, cackling loudly with a spittle of saliva flying in the air. She will always be properly composed.
That’s Why I’m Staying Indoors
We don’t know how we survived the pandemic. Not only did we get by in cramped spaces with full-on anxiety attacks, but we had frequent skin breakouts. We had the same skincare regimen, but different skincare results. We can’t help but wonder, what gives?
Now, that life is returning to normalcy, but we can’t help but raise the covers and choose to stay indoors. It’s a good thing our company is requiring us to wear masks. There’s no way a concealer and foundation can mask the zits that make up the topography of our face.
Making Room for More
You don’t need to be a mom to suit your maternal instinct. You can adopt a few fur pets or care for indoor plants. Try cacti and succulents; these are low-maintenance plants that a newbie could look after. There’s always room for these in Bella’s apartment.
That’s because every time she places a potted plant by the windowsill, she finds one on the verge of dying, or worse, dead. She takes that pot out, recycles the soil, and then waters the few plants that she has left. Now, how would you feel about adopting your own potted plant?
Drop Dead Diva
No doubt about it, we’re slaves for music. It doesn’t matter if it’s the romantic ’90s, the RnB of the 2000s, or the lo-fi music of this decade, we can’t help but wrap a feather boa around our shoulders and slink our way to the living room.
That’s pretty much the same way we feel when we’re out in public. We might not show it, but there are always telltale signs — a tap of the foot, a nod of the head, or a sway of the shoulders. Don’t judge. We’re not the only ones who do this.
Best Friends…For Now
Bella was minding her own business at the grocery store. She couldn’t make up her mind which shade of nail polish to buy. She heard someone gasp and her name being called. “Bella! Long time no see!” She froze for a millisecond then extended both arms for a hug.
“How have you been?” She embraces the stranger with as much affection as possible, while her mind is frantically racking through her mental contacts. “Work? Classmates? Family — mine or his?” The stranger breaks off the hug and Bella hopes the smile plastered on her face won’t give her away. “Someone tell me who she is!“